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Soap Crafting: Step-by-Step Techniques for Making 31 Unique Cold-Process Soaps Hardcover – August 13, 2013
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"Twenty years ago, Faiola made her first batch of soap. What began as a hobby turned into a successful business selling both handmade soap and soapmaking supplies. In her first book, Faiola provides a comprehensive guide to producing cold-process soap. After a brief overview of the chemistry of soapmaking, she dives into supplies and safety and provides a basic recipe for crafters who can’t wait to get started. Once novices have a few batches of soap under their belts, they can try one of the 30 variations described. Each recipe includes step-by-step directions and photographs. Further information, including videos of the soapmaking process, is available at the author’s website.VERDICTFaiola’s enthusiasm for her subject is apparent, and with her guidance, beginners will easily take to this craft.”
—Ruth Esteves, Owner and Chief Soapmaker, Sirona Springs Handmade Soap
From the Back Cover
Use colors, oils, and scents you love to create beautiful soaps that you can enjoy yourself, give as gifts, or even sell.
Anne-Marie Faiola, The Soap Queen, makes cold-process soapmaking accessible and fun with complete descriptions of the entire process, from selecting your oils to staying safe when working with lye.
Full-color step-by-step visuals lead you through 31 recipes that introduce swirling color effects, natural exfoliating additives, and much more.
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Top customer reviews
I immediately tried two different recipes from this book. The first was the "pumpkin swirl" recipe. Then I tried the coffee soap recipe. Both of them had the exact same problem, and I will try my best to walk you through the issue.
Firstly, I only used the EXACT ingredients listed by the author, who incidentally owns Brambleberry, which she guiltlessly plugs every chance she gets. The fragrance oils and specialty ingredients you can only get at Brambleberry. The delivery time is unbelievably long, so expect to wait at least a week before you can do any of the recipes you have saved up with those specialty ingredients. I waited a week and a half for one fragrance oil, which was supposedly in stock, but they didn't ship until 5 days after my order placed.
I decided to start with the pumpkin recipe because it was one of the easier color techniques. It's a basic swirl made by pouring, and I've had enough soap success to figure I could do that one easily. However, I failed at this recipe SIX times. I followed it to the T, when I started looking online for help. Then I emailed Anne-Marie herself at Brambleberry. The problem was the same in every batch. As soon as I added the fragrance oil, the soap seized. I tried every single trick in the book to prevent this. I made sure both the oils and lye solution were the exact same temp of 115 degrees. I tried adding the FO before the Lye. I tried whisking boiling water as I added the FO. Nothing worked. I even joined an online forum and tried all their suggestions.
In the end, I emailed Brambleberry, explaining I was using a recipe from their book with all the exact ingredients in the exact method they had suggested and my recipe wasn't working at all. Unfortunately, the person that responded only repeated that I try the methods I already told them I had tried. When I responded that maybe they should actually read my email and try again, they suggested I use a different FO, even though it was THEIR FO that the recipe called for. Sigh.
Also, the most useful part of the whole book, aside from color techniques, is an in-depth look at the properties of the oils used in soap making. I found this section extremely useful. However, I noticed that in several recipes, Anne-Marie broke her own rules for using the oils. For instance, not using more then 25% palm oil in any recipe. In the recipe I was having trouble with, the palm oil was being used at 31%. After I adjusted the recipe based on the rules and used a completely different FO (from another company - wholesalesuppliesplus.com), I didn't have any more issues. Basically, the recipes are a nice starting point, but you might check the percentages and double-check the suggested FO to make sure it doesn't accelerate trace. To use the beautiful color patterns listed in the book, you need to have the longest trace possible to give you time to work.
In general, I feel that this book is a great addition to my soap-making library, but certainly NOT the definitive book on soap making. A nice guideline for techniques, but not perfection in recipes.
The book contains nice photos of the most common oils and butters, along with the various types of colorants.
Also appreciated is the fact that the author is a strong advocate of safe soap crafting. Glad to see how well it’s emphasized.
Please note that this book is only for the type of soap making that uses lye [hence all the strong safety warnings seen throughout the book]. Melt and pour and rebatch bases are only touched upon as no recipes are given for those types of soap bases.
As the author is the owner of Brambleberry, she provides a great place to shop for any and all of your soaping ingredients. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to make soap from scratch.